There’s a bit of danger in commissioning a monument.
First, of a practical nature, what if something isn’t quite right?
I’m thinking about the infamous bust of soccer player Christian Renaldo, which turned one of the best-looking men in the world into a creepy-looking figure.
But there are other dangers. If the subject of the statue is living, there’s a chance that something could go wrong. We’ll call this the OJ Simpson corollary.
In 1990, either the city of Buffalo or the University of Southern California would have been perfectly justified in commissioning a statue to honor a favorite son.
Just a couple of years later, all they would have had was a controversial landmark.
But there are also times when creating a statue to honor a native son or daughter is a no-brainer.
Such is the case with Dolly Parton, possibly the most beloved singer-songwriter of our time.
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Does Dolly Parton have a statue?
Yes, Dolly Parton has a bronze statue in her hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee, in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Where is the Dolly Parton statue?
Dolly Parton’s statue is located on the Sevier County courthouse lawn in downtown Sevierville.
When visitors come to visit, they will see many other nods to the legend, including the Wings of Wander mural nearby (pictured below).
When the statue was dedicated in 1987, Dolly was already one of the most beloved women in the world.
A talented songwriter, country music singer, musician and actress, she was just embarking on an endeavor to show off her business acumen as Silver Dollar City was rechristened Dollywood.
Tack on her legendary philanthropy efforts and the only issue with Dolly’s statue is that there aren’t more of them.
Sevier County should issue a series of Dolly statues at various stages of her life and locate them all around the county.
Dolly is truly a native daughter that can’t be celebrated enough.
Is there a statue of Dolly at Dollywood?
Dolly Parton does not have a statue at her Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge. But there are several other accolades for her throughout the park.
For example, you can visit a replica of her childhood home there.
Why did Dolly Parton turn down a statue?
There was once talk about having a statue of Dolly Parton at the Tennessee capitol in Nashville.
It began with a debate over the bust in the state capital of Nathan Bedford Forrest, Confederate general.
In 2019, Dolly’s name was mentioned as a potential replacement. The idea had support from plenty of folks, just not Dolly.
She said in a statement on social media, “Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time.”
So why did she turn it down? Well, all we know for sure is what is written in her brief statement.
But if I’m speculating, it’s likely the same reason she attempted to turn down the nomination for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Dolly likes to stay humble. And she prefers to avoid controversy where she can.
She has also declined the Presidential Medal of Freedom, noting, “I feel like if I take it, I’ll be doing politics.”
Who built the Dolly Parton statue?
Let’s return to the statue we do have, which made its debut more than 30 years ago.
Now, I don’t like to brag. But I’ve seen a few statues in my day, and in my humble opinion, this one is among the best I’ve seen.
Created by Jim Gray, the statue is an excellent representation of Dolly.
There’s a joy of heart present that transcends the cold bronze of which it is made. It reminds me, honestly, of Peter Pan’s statue in Hyde Park in London.
It captures a puckish spirit that I find befitting a young Dolly. I can picture her running around the mountains like something out of an East Tennessee Shakespeare play.
Dolly is more than a local girl made good. She’s a sprite, a fairy, a being of light and magic who has made the world a better place.
In this imagining, Dolly sits on a rock, hair pulled back and holding her beloved guitar.
Her rolled-up jeans give the impression of her bare feet dipping into a frigid mountain stream on a warm summer day.
A butterfly rests near one of the guitar’s frets and Dolly looks off into the distance with a beaming smile.
In a way, it’s interesting that this is the season of Dolly’s life they chose to portray. I guess it makes sense, logically. She is captured as a young Dolly with big dreams.
What does Dolly Parton think about her statue?
In a Youtube video uploaded in 2011, Dolly talks about her statue.
“I’ve had the good fortune of getting to travel all over this world. I’ve had all kinds of wonderful awards. But I think probably one of the things I’m proudest of in my whole career, my whole life, really, is this statue of me in the courthouse yard in Sevierville.”
She says in the video that her dad would try to humble her a bit by telling her, “To your fans, you may be some sort of an idol, but to the pigeons down at the courthouse, you’re just another outhouse.”
“My dad was so sweet, he was proud of it,” Dolly continued.
“They told me later … he used to sneak out at night, late after the town had kinda calmed down and go down and scrub the pigeon poop off my statue. I know that you think I’m tryin’ to be funny, but I’m not, ’cause I cried my eyes out when I heard that.”
In a more recent interview with Jimmy Fallon, the icon quipped about her statue, “That’s the only time you’ll ever catch me out of my high heels.”
Have you ever seen the Dolly Parton statue? Let us know what you think about it in the comments below!